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Report - - Maenofferen Slate Quarry - Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales - August 2021 | Mines and Quarries | 28DaysLater.co.uk

Report - Maenofferen Slate Quarry - Blaenau Ffestiniog, North Wales - August 2021


MK83

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
This place has been covered loads of times (most recently in an excellent report by @HughieD ) but we've always thought it looked awesome and wanted to check it out. We had a full days childcare so thought we would do the 2 and a half hour drive down and check it out. This is by no means a complete report on the place, we only got about 3-4 hours exploring time after the drive before we had to get back and being our first visit we got round as much as we could. Were going to be doing a second visit as this place was amazing so will probably do a part 2 report as there's so much to cover.

History - Maenofferen was first worked for slate by men from the nearby Diphwys quarry shortly after 1800. By 1848 slate was being shipped via the Ffestiniog railway, but traffic on the railway ceased in 1850. In 1857 traffic resumed briefly and apart from a gap in 1865, a steady flow of slate was dispatched via the railway. The initial quarry on the site was known as the David Jones quarry which was the highest and most easterly of what became the extensive Maenofferen complex.
During the nineteenth century the quarry flourished and expanded, extending its workings underground and further downhill towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. By 1897 it employed 429 people with almost half of those working underground.
The quarry was purchased by the nearby Llechwedd quarry. in 1975 together with Bowydd, which also incorporated the old Votty workings: these are owned by the Maenofferen Company. Underground production at Maenofferen ceased during November 1999 and with it the end of large-scale underground working for slate in north Wales. Production of slate recommenced on the combined Maenofferen site, consisting of "untopping" underground workings to recover slate from the supporting pillars of the chambers. Material recovered from the quarry tips will also be recovered for crushing and subsequent use.

Explore - As stated above this was our first visit to Maenofferen so we didn't fully know what to expect. The climb up is a bit of a slog but more than worth it. We spent the first hour and a half exploring the above ground stuff which is a decent explore in itself. We then entered the 1st level of the mine and having never been here before explored the right hand passage first. We then explored the left hand side, found the main incline down to the mine itself and made our way down to what looked like a big pump in the main mine and when we saw the scale of the place we turned back as we just didn't have time to go any further. We took a lot of pics underground but very few turned out useable so we've included the few that were half decent. This is only our second attempt at underground explores and while a few of our pictures are a bit better than the first try they still aren't great! Any advice on lighting pictures in underground explores would be appreciated as it's a strange kind of darkness that seems to absorb all the lights we take with us!

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2 cheesy backlit mine shots. Weirdly these 2 pics turned out okay.

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Thanks for looking.
 
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Mikeymutt

28DL Regular User
Regular User
I love this place, and I ain't even been ha ha..nice report mate and covered well.
 

MK83

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
I love this place, and I ain't even been ha ha..nice report mate and covered well.
Cheers mikey. We've always wanted to do it. We quickly realised it cant be done in a few hours. It would take a good 8 hours plus to do the lot. Its massive. The underground here is immense, loved it though.
 

Mikeymutt

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Cheers mikey. We've always wanted to do it. We quickly realised it cant be done in a few hours. It would take a good 8 hours plus to do the lot. Its massive. The underground here is immense, loved it though.
I don't know much about the place but thought it would need a few days. One day I will get there and see it. Glad you got it done though.
 

HughieD

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Never tire of seeing this place and really enjoyed your take on this North Wales classic....
 

Down and beyond

The true source of englands wealth is coal
Regular User
The mine system to just see the best with a very experienced guide it takes 8 hours … you would need probably 50 hours to see every part of it and a high level of srt their is loads of worked out Chambers with good items to view that can’t be accessed otherwise .
 

MK83

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The mine system to just see the best with a very experienced guide it takes 8 hours … you would need probably 50 hours to see every part of it and a high level of srt their is loads of worked out Chambers with good items to view that can’t be accessed otherwise .
That doesn't surprise me, we were taken aback by the scale of it from the small amount we saw. We had no intention of going to far in as it's way above our experience level and we were very aware of getting lost. Still really enjoyed the experience of going down to the first big gallery, it was pretty intense tbh.
 

Down and beyond

The true source of englands wealth is coal
Regular User
That doesn't surprise me, we were taken aback by the scale of it from the small amount we saw. We had no intention of going to far in as it's way above our experience level and we were very aware of getting lost. Still really enjoyed the experience of going down to the first big gallery, it was pretty intense tbh.
A very wise decision :thumb
 

Calamity Jane

i see beauty in the unloved, places & things
Regular User
Very nice to see again. So much to shoot there. Im not surprised you couldnt cover whole lot. So much above and below. Great report:thumb
 

Bikin Glynn

28DL Regular User
Regular User
Nicely done, I only got to the bottom of the main drive when I went as it was flooded almost to the roof... but then it was torrential rain lol
 

MK83

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Nicely done, I only got to the bottom of the main drive when I went as it was flooded almost to the roof... but then it was torrential rain lol
I can't imagine that place getting flooded. It's so huge that would be a serious amount of water.
 

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